Chief Operating Officer
As COO at Ought, you will help set the organization’s strategy and vision, translate that strategy into shorter-term goals and ensure that the team is aligned and meeting those goals, organize and maintain a hiring pipeline, interface with lawyers, accountants etc., and establish good processes and feedback loops within the organization.
You will have significant independent decision-making capability and corresponding impact on the future of the organization.
- Examine how our strategy and vision should influence our hiring plans. For example, do our research engineers need to have a research background or can they just be talented engineers?
- Go to conferences and stay involved with the Effective Altruism (EA) community in order to generate leads.
- Talk to candidates in the initial stages of the pipeline, communicate what’s exciting about working at Ought, and filter out any obviously unqualified candidates. (Our expectation is that the COO will not have the technical expertise to do later stages of the interview process, but the more help you can provide in the recruiting pipeline the better.)
- Take feedback from candidates to improve the hiring process and make Ought a more desirable place to work.
- Manage the recruiting pipeline, ensuring that we are getting enough candidates in each of the different roles, that we are being responsive to candidates, and continually improve our processes to attract and close better candidates.
Instill and maintain feedback loops within the organization:
- Continually stay in contact with researchers and other stakeholders, both internal and external, to understand their needs and how we can provide more value to them.
- Work with our researchers to translate the organizational mission and strategy into shorter-term concrete objectives (e.g. OKRs).
- Create, track, and share metrics, KPIs, etc., to ensure that everyone is aligned, motivated, and moving towards the correct objectives.
- Work with staff to determine their personal objectives and ensure that feedback loops within our organization help everyone meet their professional development goals.
- Work with stakeholders to develop clear milestones and ensure that we deliver on them.
- Continually improve internal processes so that our staff can be happier and more productive.
High-level research understanding:
- Work with staff to understand at a high level what we have accomplished and what our bottlenecks are, and share these learnings with external stakeholders.
- Maintain a medium-depth knowledge of the AI and AI alignment landscape, so that you can speak intelligently about how our work fits in with the work of others.
- Be able to speak to funders and other external parties about Ought and the work we do.
- Make sure outsiders have an accurate view of what we are doing and why. If a randomly chosen EA gives a two-sentence summary of what Ought is doing, we want those two sentences to be the right ones.
- Work with our president to use your understanding of our current capabilities and bottlenecks in combination with the needs of the EA, AI, and AI alignment communities to set the organization’s mission and strategy.
Maintain and enhance organizational efficiency:
- Create and manage a budget, and work with funders to ensure that we have the resources we need to attract top-tier candidates.
- Run payroll, manage the office, and work with third-party accountants, lawyers, etc. to make sure that we are meeting all regulatory and other compliance requirements.
- Propose, evaluate, and implement events and activities such as internships and workshops.
- Ability to make progress on difficult problems using evidence and reason, and to explain your thinking clearly, including mentioning gaps in your knowledge, resources you’ve leveraged, and ways to improve your process. For an example of what we are looking for, see some of the writing published by the Open Philanthropy Project, e.g. , .
- Good communicator, being able to explain technical ideas to lay audiences without losing important information
- Continually building feedback loops and striving to improve your own work as well as the organization’s efficiency
- Team player who is excited about being a “multiplier” on the work performed by the team
- Either currently well-connected or could become well-connected in the EA community
- Interested in "getting your hands dirty"
- High conscientiousness and detail-orientation
Great to have, but not required:
- Experience working in a non-profit operations role
- Experience managing teams
- Computer science or math background
- Health, dental, and vision insurance
- 20 days of paid vacation per year (in addition to national holidays)
- Modern workspaces, with funds available for equipment of your choice
- Relocation assistance
- Flexible hours
- Take into account that we're a new organization. You will have unusually large leverage and room for growth, including the potential to manage other employees and contractors in the future, but you'll also need more initiative than at an established company and you'll wear many hats.
- We prefer applicants who can work on site, but will consider remote work for exceptional candidates, including internationally.
- We're a non-profit. We generally try to pay Bay Area market rate, but won't always be able to, so this position is best suited for someone who deeply cares about our mission.
- Not sure which position to apply for? Just pick one for now, add a note on alternatives you're considering, and we'll discuss.
EEO & Employment Eligibility
Ought is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, disability status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.